What Is Our National Security Interest in Libya?

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Birthplace of Independent Conservatism

Historically wars between nations have been waged because the rulers of one country wished to expand their economic power and political influence at the expense of another country(s). The desire for increased wealth and power has always been the motivating force behind war.

As Ayn Rand correctly argued, the only justification for military action (war) is in response to an act of aggression by one country against another. In other words in defense of your national sovereignty, or self defense.

Makes perfect sense to me. I believe most people would agree.

So I can't help but wonder why our national leaders {since the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan] keep getting our nation involved either in civil wars (Korea and Vietnam, or military engagements for the purpose of "regime change." Other than our military response to 911, which falls under - in response to an act of aggression - our actions have essentially been interventionist, without clear justification, and at great cost in American lives and national treasure.

The answer rests partially in the opening paragraph. By defending the enemy of our enemy we felt we would gain influence and greater power. We were also feeding the vast Military Industrial Complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us of in his 1961 farewell speech to the nation.

The nation's leaders also chose not to heed the advice of our founders to be wary of foreign entanglements. The result has been we've become the world's policemen at a great economic cost, and certainly not in our nations long term interests.

Fast forward to Libya, essentially a civil war between the supporters of Qaddafi and the rest of the country. Libya presents no threat to our national security. Even given this President Obama unwisely chose to engage our military in a third conflict ordering air strikes in conjunction with NATO, and has just authorized the use of predator drones to beat back Qaddafi's forces..

I can almost hear the sound of American boots on the ground.

There are many so called conservatives that support our intervention into Libya and some in fact wish for a deeper engagement. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is one of the "hawks" espousing stronger military action and involvement.

Bolton makes the case that Obama's decision to intervene was late and to limited in scope.

Obama is hypersensitive to the Vietnam analogy — arguing, for example, as he authorized a U.S. “surge” in Afghanistan in 2009 that it is not another Vietnam. course, Vietnam became a “quagmire” because of U.S. unwillingness to persevere to reach our objectives. Obama ignored the critical point that Gen. Creighton Abrams’s strategy had placed us on the path to victory in Vietnam, and that it was a failure of American will, not battlefield defeat, that humbled us there.

And just so is Libya now increasingly a “quagmire” — because Obama’s decision to intervene was perilously late and limited, and compounded by his mistake in drastically curtailing U.S. strike missions. Two immediate steps are required to prevent the stalemate from becoming permanent.

First, we must reverse course now and declare regime change to be our objective, followed by substantial airstrikes against Gadhafi’s forces, whether or not they are imminently threatening civilians. Even now, U.S. airpower should be intimidating enough to permit an opposition victory.

Our NATO allies will welcome our return to active strike missions. So too will the Arab League, whose leaders must be appalled that Obama and NATO are risking failure, thus risking an armed and dangerous Gadhafi remaining in power in their back yard.

Second, because Libya’s opposition leadership is still inchoate at best, we must identify anti-Gadhafi figures who are pro-Western and find ways, overt or covert, to strengthen their hands. Failing to identify reliable leaders now may make any post-Gadhafi regime, already problematic, even more dangerous. Read More

Bolton is correct with respect to the ultimate outcome in Vietnam. The point really is we never should have been there in the first place. Now the question is do we really want another Iraq on our hands???

Looking at past and relative recent history our leaders {and former diplomat}, would be well advised to consider deeply paragraph two of this post.

Cross posted to Rational Nation USA

Via: Memeorandum

1 comment:

  1. The only recent war which makes any sense at all is the invasion of Afghanistan. Taliban was sheltering القاعدة who had carried out a Taliban objective.

    International, non-governmental organizations cloud the question of what is war.

    Historically, the US has intervened in similar circumstances, witness the invasion of Tripoli in the Barbary War of the early 19th century. Terrorism, and the predecessor, piracy, require destruction.

    But you're right, just because we were there with good reason in 1801 does not justify that we would be there in 2011.


    Eisenhower's warning was well understood by a more wary (and smarter) America when he talked of the military-industrial complex. These days we should warn about bloated government and arrogant leadership in general.

    Being micromanaged by someone else is a miserable existence.

    Thanks for letting me vent.


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